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Duke to sell 5 off-East houses

At least five houses off East Campus that are now owned by Duke will be put on the market this summer, officials announced this week.

In March, the University purchased 15 properties-most of which were student-occupied residences-from owner Guy Solie, Trinity '67.

At the time, the purchase received rave reviews from many Durham residents, who noted that some of the houses have received an infamous reputation in recent years-including two which are now being sold.

The five properties confirmed for sale are 508, 704 and 708 N. Buchanan Blvd., 1111 Urban Ave. and 203 Watts St.

The 203 Watts St. house was the site of an alleged sexual assault in 2001, which led to the eventual disaffiliation of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

In addition, the 508 N. Buchanan Blvd. house made headlines when the off-campus fraternity Eta Prime held a baby oil wrestling match there in January 2005.

Since the March announcement, the University has not hidden its plan to turn the houses into single-family residences, thus terminating the properties as locations for student partying.

Officials have repeatedly said they will require a deed covenant from buyers ensuring that the owners live in the houses they buy.

When it bought the houses, the University announced that it would honor then-held leases until their conclusion.

"There were signed leases for all the houses for the remainder of the current academic year, and there were quite a few leases for the upcoming academic year as well," said Jeff Potter, director of real estate administration at Duke.

Potter said properties are being put on the market now because leases are beginning to run out, adding that the number of properties up for sale is largely contingent upon the resolution of those leases.

Some tenants, however, have decided to terminate their leases early, he added.

"Fewer people are going to be leasing the properties than expected, and we have more properties [for sale] than planned for," Potter explained.

Potter also said it was unlikely any housing deals would be closed before July. "If we could start taking offers late in the summer, I'd be pleased," he said.

610 N. Buchanan Blvd.-the site of an alleged rape involving the men's lacrosse team-was not among those listed for sale. The property, formerly rented by three captains of the lacrosse team, was purchased by the University only weeks before the accusations arose.

Neither Potter nor President Richard Brodhead commented on whether the specific property will be on the market in the near future. Brodhead noted, however, that he expects the University's original intention of purchasing 610 Buchanan-selling it to an interested family-to be fulfilled."It will find a new use over time," Brodhead said.

Although the University has warned prospective buyers that the properties are older and will likely require repairs, significant interest has already been shown in the real estate, Potter said.


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